Covenant of Expectations First UMC Hershey Youth Ministry
Our youth ministry exists to provide a safe place for students to find identity, belong in community, and live with purpose.
To truly create a safe place, our students and Youth Leaders collaborated to create this Covenant of Expectations with values and rules. Our values (bolded) are the beliefs and principles important to who we are as a youth ministry. Each value is followed by a brief description. Beneath each value are explicit rules (indicated by the bullet points) which make possible and support our values. All rules are enforceable at any youth ministry event or gathering.
Safe place – We believe the physical safety for all students and adults is of utmost importance. We value an environment safe enough where students and leaders can have open conversation about life and faith.
- We will maintain confidentiality of everything shared during small group time whenever possible. There are exceptions to confidentiality if what is being shared involves: 1) Being hurt 2) Hurting others 3) Hurting oneself
- Weapons and non-prescription drugs are prohibited.
- Students must stay within the group area at all times. Students should not wander off alone leaving the activity location unless with an adult leader or given permission. In the church building, a constant rule is to remain on the same floor as the group.
- During overnight events, students and leaders must sleep in rooms with those of the same gender. Accommodations will be offered to students identifying as transgender or non-binary.
Respect – We believe every person is made in the image of God. We value the physical and emotional well-being of others by living Jesus’s teaching, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Respect physical boundaries of other people, including refraining from any inappropriate touch beyond another’s comfort zone.
- No violent or aggressive behavior.
- No bullying or harassment including (but not limited to): threats, inappropriate jokes, sexual harassment, etc.
- No talking when someone else is talking during large or small group time.
Belonging – We believe Jesus invites every person to belong in the family of God. We value hearing the opinions, feelings, and experiences of others, seeking understanding over judgement when we disagree, supporting one another through the highs and lows of life, welcoming newcomers, and generously sharing words of encouragement.
- No discriminatory or derogatory comments or jokes based on any of the following (but not limited to): race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, physique, or ethnicity, etc.
- No gossip about another student or adult leader.
- No public displays of affection. The Youth Director will have a conversation with each new couple to communicate clear expectations.
Be present – We believe our love for one another is at its best when we’re physically, mentally, and emotionally present with one another. We value active and patient listening, as well as a willingness to participate in group games, activities, and discussion.
- No phone use during large group or small group time, as well as any other time as communicated by a leader at a special event.
Love like Jesus – We believe a church community should be a place where we together become like Jesus in all that we say and do. We value the fruits of Spirit from Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We also value empathy, honesty, humility, positivity, and forgiveness.
When Covenant expectations are broken, our leadership team will respond with collaborative problem solving involving the student(s) or leader(s) for the purpose of 1) the safety of everyone in our youth ministry 2) personal growth of the student(s) or leader(s) violating the Covenant 3) healing for those who have been hurt 4) reconciliation when possible. We recognize a broken rule will not always result in the same level of harm; therefore, consequences will also been handled based on each situation. Whenever possible, incidents will be handled within the youth ministry by the Youth Director and Youth Leaders. However, depending on the nature of the rule violation or frequency of Covenant-breaking, a parent/guardian will be contacted. Should the incident be urgent, a parent/guardian will be contacted immediately and be responsible for picking up the student from an event or gathering. We may also involve the Pastor and/or a Kids+Youth ministry consultant for further problem solving.
Students are encouraged to speak to the Youth Director or a Youth Leader whenever they have witnessed or experienced a violation of our Covenant. If a student is unable to or uncomfortable with speaking directly to a Youth Leader about an incident, they may us the FUMC Youth Speak Up QR code located on the refrigerator in the Youth Room and on our Instagram bio. This code links an anonymous form for the student to complete.
A Covenant is a promise to one another to uphold these agreed upon values and rules. In signing this covenant, I agree that I have read and understand these expectations.
Student Signature Date
Parent Signature Date